Monthly Archives: June 2018

The complicated translation of French ‘de’

Translating properly French ‘de’ is much complicated, since there are many different grammatical cases. To cite but a few of them:

  • ‘de’ as a noun complement: ‘la fille de Jean, le chapeau de la mariée’ (Jean’s daughter, the bride’s hat) = a figliola di Ghjuvanni, u cappeddu di a spusata: ‘de’ = di
  • ‘de’ from ‘du’ = ‘de le’, as a partitive article: ‘je veux du vin’ (I want wine) = vogliu u vinu
  • ‘de’ from ‘des’ = ‘de les’, as a partitive article: ‘je veux des cerises’ (I want cherries) = vogliu i chjarasgi: ‘de’ = <void>
  • ‘de’ as a preposition: venir de , partir de, descendre de (to come from, to leave from, to go down from) = vena da, parta da, falà da: ‘de’ = da
  • ‘de’ within ‘ capable de ‘ = à: il est capable de partir (he is able to leave, he may leave) = hè capaci à parta: ‘de’ = à

To sum up: ‘de’ is much versatile. Depending on its grammatical nature, French ‘de’ may be translated into di, da, <nothing>, à. But the sitution is probably much complex than that, since some other cases should be missing here.

Big question

Now the big question is this: how hard is it to transform a single pair MT (rule-based) system into a multiple pairs ecosystem? To put it in its simplest form: how hard is it to turn a MT system related to a given pair A-B into an ecosystem with, say, 26 languages A, B, …, Z and the corrresponding full set A-B, A-C, A-D, …  B-C, B-D, …, X-Z, Y-Z of pairs.

It relies on the two following questions:

  • from a given pair A-B, how hard is it to get the reverse B-A pair?
  • from a given pair A-B, how hard is it to get a connex pair A-C?

The current list of pairs of Okchakko translator is the following:

  • French-Corsican (cismuntincu)
  • French-Corsican (sartinese)
  • French-Corsican (taravese)
  • French-Italian

Synonym transitivity

The problem of dictionary coherence is notably related to synonym transitivity: are synonyms transitive one with another? Usually, the response is negative. But isn’t this established wisdow questionable? Don’t we need to distinguish between:

  • quasi-synonyms which are untransitive
  • true synonyms, which are transitive: for example, the verb ‘finir’ in French (to end) translates indifferently into compie or finisce in Corsican ; in the same way, ‘demander’ (to ask) translates indifferently into dumandà or chere in Corsican ; ‘envoyer’ (to send), third, translates either into mandà or into invià: these are true synonyms, which are cross-language transitive

This casts lights on the fact that our notion of synonymy is cross-languages: if words A and B of a given language L1 are synonyms, and if a word C of another language L2 is synonym with A, then C is also synonym with B.

How hard is language reversal pair making within rule-based translation?

Language pair reversal: Rule-based translation is currently disregarded, in particular for the reason that it needs a lot of work and expertise. But is that reason well-grounded? Now focussing on a given language pair, we can formulate this question more accurately as follows: from a given pair language1/language2 translator, how much work is necessary to get a working translator language2/language1? To say it otherwise: aren’t there some techniques to speed up this process?